5 Steps to Get Everything You Want this Year.

Success begins with a goal. The goal drives your strategies and tactics in your business and your life. It drives your decisions. It drives the choice of your teammates and coaches.

I believe in living a balanced life. As an entrepreneur trying to achieve balance, your business goals need to support your life goals. I'm going to share with you a goal setting exercise that you can do. It will set you up to achieve your goals this year.

I'm sharing with you the five steps I'm taking right now to achieve even the smallest of my goals.

1. Write down these categories

Write each category on its own piece of paper so you have plenty of room for the next steps.

  • Physical Environment
  • Fun & Recreation
  • Personal Growth
  • Romance
  • Career
  • Money
  • Health
  • Friends and Family

2. Make a list

Now under each of these areas I want you to make a laundry list of all the things you can think of that you'd like to see happen. I don't want you to worry about whether it’s a long-term or short-term goal. We don't care if it’s a strategy or a tactic or a vision. Just write down anything you can think of that you'd like to see in your life and put it in the category for which it belongs.

Here's just a subset of my goals. The full list is 5 pages long and I haven't finished yet.

Physical Environment

(Warning: we have a LOT of unfinished house projects)

  • landscaping and plants
  • fix hot tub
  • swap dishwashers
  • build outdoor kitchen
  • repair cars
  • kids effortlessly helping with chores
  • Hang up pictures
  • Master suite addition to the house
  • fix gutters

Fun and Recreation

  • ski passes
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • beach trip
  • Cabin trip
  • exercise 2x per week
  • learn snowboarding at Erika's Burton board camp

Some of these are visions like the kids effortlessly helping with chores. Some are long term, like a second story master suite addition to the house. Some are specific like attending the Burton Board Camp. No matter.

You will also notice that many of these things I can budget for. Others I can book a timeslot in my calendar for. Some are easily achieved by budgeting and scheduling. Some will take some iterative and interactive work and perhaps some training (like having the kids effortlessly help with chores).

3. Prioritize and sort.

For each category of items, I want you to identify which items are most important to you. Which ones do you want to accomplish this year and which ones can wait? Which items have to be completed before you can do something else?

For example, beach trip is a priority for us. And, at least for us this year, we need to budget time and money for it to happen. My husband needs to take time off of work and I need to plan my client contact around that time so I can truly take off and unwind. To do this we are blocking out time now, 6 months in advance, to make sure that trip happens. We are also looking now at ways to make that trip affordable to us and to set aside money each month to make that trip happen.

4. Book a time slot.

Many of the things on my list are small tasks that can be completed with no additional resources. They just take time. Simply block out some time in your calendar.

We are blocking out 2 hour chunks of time on selected weekends so we can knock of projects on our list. Now we may not decide in advance which projects are to be completed, but by having the time set aside, we assure that some will get done. And, we have set up a weekly meeting where we sit down and review our plans for the week to prioritize and ensure that the important things do get done.

5. Identify a budget.

Know how much you are and aren’t willing to spend to achieve these goals. This will help you identify what financial goals are required to get the other goals on your list. And remember, its OK, that some carry over to the next year. Just make sure you identify which ones you are willing to let go to the future and which ones you aren’t.

Having just completed this exercise, I can't tell you how on top of it I feel. Like I am back in control of my destiny and I'm leaving nothing to chance.

That simple step just raised our energy level a few notches, at a time when it was very much needed.

These same techniques can be applied in your business too. It's just one way to take your business up a notch. Elite athletes know their schedule 6 months in advance. They know which competitions they are attending and how much it will cost. They know how many training sessions they have to prepare. They know the skills they need to win at each level. Nothing is left to chance and winging it.

Let's face it. Sometimes you get lucky. But most of the time success comes to those who aren't afraid to choose to create the planned out calculated road to success.

Can you use these skills to create your own elite program that puts you on your path to success?

What other techniques have you used?

If you would like help implementing these techniques with ongoing support and accountability, take a look at my Expert Emerald Marketing Mastermind Club.

What’s in a Marketing Plan?

What are the elements of a marketing plan? How do you create a marketing plan? Here is a simple outline that gives you the different stages of marketing. The first 3 are marketing planning stages and the last 3 are marketing implementation stages.

  • Identify Marketing Strategy
    1. Vision
    2. Goals & Objectives
    3. Defining Your Ideal Target Customer
    4. The 5 P’s as applied to  your customer’s needs
      • Product Strategy: features, benefits, problems it solves, uses, warranties, etc.
      • The Pricing Strategy
      • Place or Distribution Strategy: how people will get it, buy it, shop for it.
      • Promotion: the positioning, the voice, the messages, the image, marketing materials, packaging
      • People: what are the unique skills, experiences, backgrounds our people have that give you an advantage
  • Marketing Tactics
    1. Where do we find your customer?
    2. List of all tactics and materials needed to reach that customer
    3. Prioritize based on budget, timing and customer reach and appeal
  • Sequencing & Scheduling
    1. Find lead times, budget and deliverables for each tactic
    2. Incorporate persuasion techniques (this is the new thing I’m adding, not sure if it goes here or earlier on)
  • Implementation
    1. Project manage the process
      • Set up accounts; create communication pieces, websites, sales channels, marketing events, the product, etc.
      • Confirm progress at checkpoints and deliverables
    2. Work with specialists to create the product and marketing materials.
  • Launch
    1. Release all materials and communications to the customer according to the pre-determined schedule (typically a specific widow of time coinciding with the availability of the product).
  • Sustaining Marketing
    1. Continued communication with new customers.
  • The most important thing is you have a plan and you implement it. Also note that your marketing plan does not have to be written in stone. It is a living breathing document that changes as needed to meet the needs of your customer and your company’s objectives.

How to create a Marketing Strategy

How do I write a Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy is a process that enables you to optimize your resources (time, money, people, etc) and focus them on the best way to generate sales and achieve a sustainable advantage. An effective marketing strategy defines how you will attract prospects, engage customers and overcome competitors.

The marketing strategy is the underpinnings of the marketing plan which includes the tactics used to implement the strategy. The strategy is dynamic and interactive. It can change and evolve in real time based on changes in the company goals, competitor actions, or customer responses.

In a corporation, there is typically someone responsible for overseeing the entire marketing strategy for a product or business unit. There are then sub-groups responsible for a given tactical area such as advertising, distribution channels, internet and public relations. Each of these specialists then develops the detailed tactical plans for their area of expertise.

In a small business, it is usually the owner or maybe one marketing person responsible for the entire marketing strategy and implementation. As you can image, this gets very overwhelming. How do you begin?

The marketing strategy is where you define who your customers are (the customer segments), which ones you want to work with (your target), and the benefits you have to offer them (the positioning). As a small business owner, you want to identify the target customer that brings you the most joy and personal fulfillment to work with. That’s why you are in business for yourself, right? Don’t you want to be happy, have freedom and control your destiny? If so, you need to find the customer that is the best match for you and then talk directly to them.

Customer Segmentation

Customer Segmentation is when you divide the market into discrete customer groups that share similar traits. There are four basic ways to segment the market. They are based on psychographic, demographic, geographic or physiographic data. When you segment your customers, you want the division to be meaningful and measurable.

The Target Customer

Now that you know all you can about your customers, you need to identify which of these segments you are going to target. To do this, you will need to determine the profit potential of each segment by analyzing the potential revenue vs. costs of selling to that customer. As an entrepreneur, your costs also entail your time, effort and personal fulfillment. Which segments are easier for you personally to work with? Which ones will bring you the greatest joy? Profitability isn’t always measured in dollars.

Positioning

Positioning is the perception your customer has of you, your company or your product/service in relation to their perceptions of your direct competitors.

To effectively position your product or service, you need to know what makes your customer tick. What problems do they have that you can solve? How can you/your product help them better than anyone else? What makes your solution uniquely better than anyone else’s? Be sure to tweak your product/service and pricing to best meet the needs of your customer.

Now that you know who you are going to talk to and what you are going to say, you need to move to the next step in your planning process. The next step would be to clarify how you are going to deliver your message and where. This leads you out of the strategy phase and into the tactical phase of your marketing plan.

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